By Diana Chandler
FORT WORTH — Doctors thought it might have been leukemia, an explanation for the frequent bruising Grant began suffering just shy of his second birthday. His father, Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines, told the story years later while preaching at Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Our little world was rocked. We’re sitting there with this healthy young boy and all of a sudden, he’s got to be tested for leukemia,” Gaines told hundreds gathered in worship days before the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Dallas.
“I couldn’t go to sleep. I started reading my Bible, and I came across these words in (Exodus) 14:13-14: ‘Do not fear. Stand and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”
Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., preached on Supernatural Christianity based on Acts 28:1-10.
His son Grant suffered from ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), a bruising disorder that often corrects itself untreated.
“God gave me a promise, and I knew somehow, someway, God was going to pull him out,” Gaines said. Today Grant is 35 years old, Gaines said, and a pastor in Jackson, Tenn. “If you have a need, God has a promise. I love the promises of God.”
God’s promises, protection, power and provision are all supernatural, Gaines said.
“What was it in the early church that allowed them to reach their whole world in 30 years, from Acts 1 to Acts 28?” Gaines asked. “Three decades, and they had taken the Gospel all the way from Jerusalem to Rome. How did they do that? Are you ready for this?
“The supernatural power of God. They believed in a supernatural God, which to me is redundant,” Gaines said. “If he’s God, He’s supernatural. If he’s not supernatural, he’s not God.”
New and Old Testament Scripture from various translations augmented his sermon as he referenced several psalms and miracle accounts showcasing God’s promises, protection, power and provision.
He referenced Psalm 23: “The Lord is <i>my</i> shepherd, I shall not want. Are you living in turmoil and strife? He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
“Are you lost?” he asked. “Romans 10:13. Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“Are you afraid?” he asked. “Isaiah 41:10. Don’t fear, I’m with you…. I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. Surely I will hold you with my righteous right hand.”
Gaines referenced Psalm 91: “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty…. He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s death, from the destructive plague.”
“God is still alive,” Gaines said, “and as long as you are in the will of God, and as long as God still has something for you in this life, you are as safe as you can be.”
Gaines included Mark 11:20-24, Psalm 37:25, Romans 8:32, Philippians 4:19 and other references.
“Do you live life like there’s a supernatural God?” he asked worshippers. “Do the people who know you best believe that you believe in a supernatural God?”
Extending God’s grace, Gaines prayed for the saved who are seeking more of God’s power, the saved who are yet living in sin, and the lost who need salvation.
During SBC Crossover evangelism events June 4-9, the church at 9100 N. Normandale recorded 34 professions of faith in its neighborhood, Michael Crisp, Birchman’s minister to young adults, told the church in a report at the close of worship.
Aided by volunteers from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the church knocked on more than 2,200 doors, engaged in more than 300 Gospel conversations and received 160 requests for follow-up information, Crisp reported.
Bob Pearle is senior pastor.